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Saturday March 23rd, 2019 2:44AM

Pearce breaks out of slump in hometown of Lakeland

By The Associated Press
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LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — World Series MVP Steve Pearce needed a trip home to find his swing.

The Lakeland High School product ended an 0-for-12 spring training start with two homers as the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers tied 4-4 on Thursday.

"It just feels good to finally get a rhythm," Pearce said. "For my first couple games, the timing just wasn't there. I was kind of clueless at the plate. But now the last couple days it's starting to feel a lot better."

Pearce was given a Lakeland Dreadnaughts jersey with his number 5 on it by a fan. Pearce said the last time he probably homered in his hometown was in high school.

"Look in the stands and I'll see people I haven't seen in 15 years," Pearce said. "That's pretty cool."

Eduardo Rodriguez struck out eight over five innings for the Red Sox, who snapped their seven-game losing streak. Heath Hembree struck out the side in his inning of relief.

AROUND THE GRAPEFRUIT AND CACTUS LEAGUES

PIRATES 11, PHILLIES (SS) 2

Starling Marte, Adam Frazier, Corey Dickerson, Kevin Newman and Colin Moran each homered for Pittsburgh. Newman had three hits and Marte also doubled. Trevor Williams allowed just an unearned run over five innings of three-hit ball. Francisco Liriano pitched a scoreless inning in relief.

Jake Arrieta gave up five runs, two homers, six hits and three walks over 3 1/3 innings. Cesar Hernandez was 1 for 3 in his spring debut. Odubel Herrera is expected to be the designated hitter Saturday in his first game of the spring.

PHILLIES (SS) 4, RAYS 3

Drew Anderson pitched four scoreless innings of two-hit ball, and Gift Ngoepe hit a two-run homer to lift Philadelphia. Dylan Cozens also went deep.

Mike Zunino hit a three-run homer for Tampa Bay. Emilio Pagan pitched two scoreless innings. Tommy Pham was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts but is batting .345 this spring.

TWINS (SS) 7, ORIOLES 6

Minnesota's Ronald Torreyes hit his first homer in any game — spring training, regular season or minor league — since July 30, 2017 while with the Yankees, ending a stretch of 159 games without one. The 5-foot-8 infielder has four homers in 229 career regular season games. Michael Reed had three hits and Willians Astudillo had two.

Dylan Bundy allowed four runs in five innings for Baltimore, lifting his spring ERA to 10.80. Jace Peterson and Cedric Mullins each solo home runs.

MARLINS 12, ASTROS 6

Astros starter Collin McHugh was hit hard in his third spring start, allowing six runs and seven hits in 2 2/3 innings, raising his ERA to 15.88. Alex Bregman and Robinson Chirinos each hit their second homers of the spring.

Dan Straily gave up four runs and eight hits over 3 2/3 innings for Miami, and Sergio Romo gave up two more runs in 1 1/3 innings. Chad Wallach, son of Marlins bench coach Tim Wallach, homered.

METS 1, CARDINALS 1

Zack Wheeler continued an impressive spring for the Mets with 5 1/3 scoreless innings of two-hit ball. Jeurys Familia added a scoreless inning, and left-hander Justin Wilson gave up a run on two hits in his inning of work. Jeff McNeil had three hits.

Michael Wacha threw five scoreless innings, allowing five hits and two walks. Harrison Bader had two hits and three stolen bases, Jose Martinez had a triple and Yairo Munoz doubled and drove in a run.

NATIONALS 10, TWINS (SS) 4

Juan Soto and Victor Robles each homered to back Erick Fedde in his bid for a rotation spot. Fedde allowed a run and two hits over three innings, dropping his ERA to 7.84 as he competes with Jeremy Hellickson for the Nationals' fifth-starter job.

Martin Perez allowed five runs, six hits and two walks. Eddie Rosario hit a solo home run, his third of the spring, and 2018 first-round pick Trevor Larnach hit his first Grapefruit League homer.

YANKEES 1, BLUE JAYS 1

Luis Cessa dropped his ERA to 0.69 with four scoreless innings for the Yankees. He struck out three and allowed two hits and a walk. Troy Tulowitzki went 1 for 2 with a walk.

Matt Shoemaker pitched one-run ball over 5 1/3 innings. He allowed four hits and a walk while striking out three. Bo Bichette, Justin Smoak and Kendrys Morales each doubled.

___

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